Sunday, September 10, 2006

Economics and Social Policy XII

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Welcome to the September 10, 2006 edition.

Jack Yoest presents Wal*Mart: As American as Apple Pie and The Gay Life posted at Jack Yoest, saying, "When Your Business Blogger was consulting in China, I visited a large university (redundant: there are no small Chinese universities) and had a conversation with a post-grad working on international contract law. His English was better than my Chinese. In every Chinese town there is an "English Corner," just as every major American city has a "Chinatown." These corners in China are where the locals gather to practice speaking English. The inverse parallel is, of course, that the Chinese speak English in both China and America, and the Americans speak English in both China and America. Anyway, I asked the student what he wanted to do with his advanced degree. Without prompting, he says, "I want to work for Wal*Mart. It is big and powerful.""

Mr. Yoest notes a number of discomforting signs from the Bentonville Boys. The Boring Made Dull gang has always been big supporters of Wal*Mart. It’s tough to argue with the opportunities they provide for the lower and middle classes in terms of job opportunities as well as low prices. One suspects that as the professional managerial class (no friends of the free market) gets a hold of Wal*Mart, they will begin to go the way of Woolworth’s.

Brandon Peele presents Politics is Philosophy for the Intellectually Lazy posted at GT.

As someone else has noted, politics is actually show business for ugly people. In at least one respect, I’m with this post – as a conservative, you can tell when things are bad by how much attention you are paying to politics. In a free, market driven republic, politics should be the least important thing.

As a brief warning, Mr. Peele is spends some space in his post attempting to rehabilitate Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I’ve had Maslow inflicted upon me in every management and marketing class since 1977, so it’s, yeah, yeah, self actualization, whatever, dude. There seems like more that a whiff of second tier Hegeliansism about the whole process.

Steve Faber presents Where Are All the Good Jobs? posted at DebtBlog.

There’s a tie in here to the recent concerns about both the cost of college, (hitting at the job export to India issue), as well as the pressure on entry level and unskilled labor that illegal immigration creates.

Phil B. of Phil for Humanity (now, that’s a great blog name) presents Phil for Humanity: Obsoleting the Electoral College.

I think that the math in Phil’s examples tends to be overly biased toward extreme cases, and, in any event, I’m a opposed to tinkering with the Electoral College. Given the Presidential election in 2000, and the recent issues in Mexico, it seems like the Electoral College serves America pretty well. It also means that the Presidential campaign has to be fought out on a nationwide level, not just in CA, NY, TX, FL, and a handful of other large states.

Vihar Sheth presents Get Sustainable or Die Tryin? posted at Vihar Sheth.

A common mistake in economics – resources are scarce, but not finite. Or, they are only finite in the sense of being absolutely limited by human ingenuity. How I miss Julian Simon.

Ali Eteraz presents Left Global Cataracts & Exemplarism posted at Unwilling Self-Negation.

Since ‘Exemplarism’ looks a whole lot like the current Bush policies, I can’t see the left taking to it anytime soon. But it's certainly true that the Left needs to come up with a foreign policy that doesn't look like isolationism or appeasement in order to convice the public that they aren't simply setting the stage for a 1939 redux.

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